Well, IANAC, nor do I play one on TV (though I seem to have that label around these parts), but…well, I’m not seeing this as being all that offensive. So, Palin is saying that the REAL America is in small towns and such? Well, that’s pretty much been the Republican party line (unofficially) for quite some time. It’s an appeal to emotion (small towns, apple pie, puppies and small children, white picket fences, flags waving in the breeze, wholesome and obediant wives looking at their husbands with shinning eyes, bibles with maybe a Monty Python Jesus rising up into the clouds) and while she probably believes that tripe it’s really just a political statement.
On the other hand I think your summation of what ‘flyover country’ really means is accurate…AND it’s pretty offensive (and really a stupid thing to say). What’s the difference? Well, one is a positive inclusion (i.e. ‘You guys in rural America are the REAL Americans! Blah blah blah’…as opposed to ‘You guys in fly over country are <whatever…less meaningful, less relevant…just less>. blah blah blah’).
Myself, it’s hard to get worked up about either really, though I think from a political and perception perspective Palin et al’s message plays better than the ‘flyover country’ meme. Both are pretty inane in the end.
What burns MY biscuit about conservatives is the social or quasi-religious issues they try and bring into the fray. If you want to talk about THAT I’ll give you as much outrage as you like.